The Kominsky Method Season 1: Series Review

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The Kominsky Method, starring Michael Douglas as Sandy Kominsky and Alan Arkin as Normand, is the story of two elderly has-beens navigating the process of ageing. Sandy Kominsky, a formerly well-known acting coach and newly washed up acting coach with a far less distinguished clientele than his illustrious past, comes to terms with certain realities of his existence and the problems that come with getting older. Alongside his near-lifelong friend in Normand (Arkin), Sandy deals with some deteriorating relationships, financial woes, and some of the unfortunate realities of having no purpose. The show was nominated for and won for performances in leading and supporting roles at the Golden Globes, with Douglas walking away with near-top recognition for his portrayal.

I was entirely not ready for the Kominsky Method. What appeared on the outside like a relatively flavorless piece of cheap laugh comedy, at least to me, ended up shining with personality and character in a way I could never have expected. A lot of the credit for that goes to the incredible work done by Douglas and Arkin, both of whom are endearing to no end in the buoyantly depressed situations their characters find themselves in. The blending of the comedy and the commentary is really very impressive; you see a lot of shows trying to do that these days and it comes off tacky more often than not. Chuck Lorre and co have done a job and a half on the writing for the series in general, with some shockingly smart turn of phrase and what could only be described as some black comedy making for a delightfully funny and nonetheless heartfelt and meaningful screenplay.

There’s an argument to be made, and it was the predominant argument I did make before starting the series, that little to nothing happens. Two really old guys age. That’s pretty much it. There are, obviously, plot points and developments in the story, but almost all of it is told with the backdrop of impermanence: neither of our protagonists have long enough to materially suffer. Instead of a burden, however, the show uses this feature as a springboard into another realm of conflict: that of the internal. The show trades up interesting plot and twisty character development for for a more reflective, ponderous approach to the stories it chooses to tell. The nature of relationships, for example, plays a more prominent role in this show than most any other I’ve seen. For those who feel hard done without an intricate plot, the show would probably drag hard. I, on the other hand, absolutely loved this about the show. It’s like the events concerning the characters already happened, and the show is about reflecting and reminiscing on days gone past.

I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the shortcomings of the show. There are a couple loose ends in characters you thought were more important than they ended up being, and the comedy doesn’t land without exception. Some of the black comedy particularly take the form of moments when you can’t tell if laughing would be inappropriate. I found myself looking for cues in the reaction of others on screen to dictate what my reaction should be. It’s not as bad a situation as some other examples I can think of, but considering the potential the show has it’s sad to see something like this being a drag for the show as a whole.

Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed myself watching the Kominsky Method. It’s on the quirkier, more niche side as compared to a lot of popular television media that’s out there; the sense of humour’s not for everyone and the honesty isn’t what most people, particularly kids my age, want in their comedy shows. The nice thing about this show is that you can dip your toes in it and get a sense without a lot of commitment. The full runtime is about four hours; eight episodes of twenty to occasionally thirty minutes each, which, for me, is a positively delectable length. Long enough to avoid the trap that 2 hour feature films fall into of half-baked-ness but not long enough to be burdensome. Watching the show doesn’t feel as much like a chore sometimes, like longer shows often can, and in that sense it might be beneficial for us as consumers if creators took some notes on the runtime of this show. Whether it’s for you or not, The Kominsky Method won’t cause you stress.

– Aman Datta

Aman’s Score – 77/100                                                                      Aryamaan’s Score –